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DATE: 1950

LENGTH: 10 min

CATEGORY: Educational & Instructional, Animation, Sound, Color

DIRECTOR: Lu Guarnier

PRODUCER/PUBLISHER: National Tuberculosis Association and Film Graphics, Inc.


Rodney’s modernist cartoon animation renderings of cars, people, lungs, bacterial invasion, diagnostic technology, and treatment methods capture a moment in post-World War II American life and medicine when everything felt modern. The 1950s were a time of optimism, when many believed you could overcome almost any adversity by adopting a positive attitude and taking timely action. Yet it was an era of high anxiety as well, and the film reflects this. The United States and its allies had won the war, but after the Soviets exploded their atomic bomb in 1949, fears of nuclear conflict began to proliferate, along with some undefinable unease about the consequences of scientific progress. And so this cartoon is both happy and haunted—by the threat of illness and attack…Read The Essay

Supplementary Materials

About the Director

Lu Guarnier (1914–2007), director of Rodney, was an exponent of the new modernist cartoon animation of the 1940s and early ’50s. Cartoon modernism emphasized abstraction, bold lines, dynamic distortion, and the elimination of unnecessary detail. The new style was economical (it required fewer cells and less drawing per cell) and brought visual elements from cubism, surrealism, art deco, minimalism, even abstract expressionism to the mass movie and television audience.

Stills from Rodney

Stills from Rodney reprinted with permission, © 2011 American Lung Association.

Digitized Films on Tuberculosis at the National Library of Medicine

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Tuberculosis Films on Circulating Now

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